Generators 101 – What You Should Know
Generators are a life-saving tool when the power goes out. They provide a backup source of power when there’s an outage for a variety of reasons, including inclement weather or a malfunction on the local grid. But a generator can also pose some hazards if not used properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is just one of them, so take the right steps to ensure you don’t end up with a dangerous situation.
You may not think of generators when you need an emergency backup source of power, but they are an essential tool for homes and businesses. They can also be used to power a wide range of equipment for construction sites and remote areas where access to electricity isn’t readily available. A generator’s owner should regularly check its fuel and oil levels, test it for fluid leaks and run a no-load exercise cycle to verify it is operating correctly. A thorough annual inspection is important, as well. It’s also important to locate a portable generator outside at least 20 feet away from the home and your neighbors’ homes, with the exhaust directed away from any occupied areas of the house.
A well-designed generator can go from standby mode to full power in less than 10 seconds. This speed can help ensure that you never experience a loss of electrical power. A generator can power your entire house, or only a specific part of it. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area ripe for the picking, it may be the best way to keep your family and homestead safe and sound during a blackout or power outage. The biggest challenge is determining how to use it in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
The secret to a long lasting, trouble free generator is proper maintenance. While the frequency of maintenance varies by unit type and environment, a regular schedule of tune ups is a necessity for a properly functioning, high performing machine. The most obvious of these is an oil change, but it’s also important to replace your spark plugs and air filter from time to time, especially if you are a power user who uses your generator in more extreme conditions than the average homeowner. Getting a high quality replacement part can be expensive, so it’s best to take the guesswork out of these small engine maintenance tasks by making them as routine as possible.
Whether you own a portable generator or a standby model, it should be stored properly to maximize its performance and longevity. Safe storage will prevent damage to the machine, prolong its lifespan, and allow you to easily maintain it. A garage is the best place to store a generator because it offers maximum protection from rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. It also allows you to control temperature and provides easy access to the generator. An outdoor shed or basic, ventilated wood shelter is another good option for storage. However, you should consider your climate and consult your owner’s manual to determine how well a shed or other outdoor structure will protect your generator from the elements. You should also drain the generator of all flammable liquids and oils before storing it. This will help to reduce its powerful odors and potentially harmful gaseous emissions. Then, cover the unit with a waterproof shell to ensure it stays safe and sound.
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